Monster Hunter: Freedom 2 PSP Review

Have you ever totted up the number of Capcom game follow-ups that have out performed the earlier editions? Whether it is because they want to release games before they have had enough time to really sort out the experience, or just that some games are better the second time around, they simply have better luck with sequels. If you take a moment to look back through Capcom’s back-catalogue you’ll find plenty of these super-performing follow-ups. It is therefore a happy thing for us to have a Capcom follow up in our hot little mitts today. Monster Hunter Freedom 2 appears at first glance to be another hot out-of-the-gate follow-up to a none-too-shabby initial release.

This time around, Monster Hunter Freedom 2 takes the initial experience that so many people enjoyed and extend that with a whole host of improvements and imaginative additions. Now there are four specific classes of weapons; hunting flutes, gun lances, longswords and bows. This extends the previous collection of attacking options and creates a whole variety of new ways to develop your characters.

In addition to this vast array of equipment, the game also provides a variety of different career-paths through which to progress. These different paths each have their own associated skill and statistic modifiers that can turn even the mildest villager into a raging monster hunter. This allows you to really build your party in much more inventive and imaginative directions. Whether you take them all in a similar direction to produce a band of muscle bound thugs, or develop more of a broad approach and look to cover a variety of different attack styles. This is all wrapped up in a loose and easy career system that happily enables you to more easily switch between roles, provided you have the right equipment. This is a great relief after the first game where at times you felt like you needed to start over to re-make mistaken early decisions.

In terms of technical performance, Capcom has also invested quite an amount of time and money. The new loading feature enables the game to stream in the levels while you are playing them. This gives the PSP more of a chance of reducing some its inordinate load-times, something the system has received some of its heaviest criticisms for. This technical wizardry also seems to have freed up some processor cycles. These are put to good use in the form of new weather effects that not only change the visuals but also affect battles and general Gameplay. Additionally, this all exists within the day/night cycles that give the game a real sense of authenticity. These cycles not only make things look sweet but also affect the usefulness of items and the reactions of various monsters.

But what would a monster hunter game be without treasure? Accordingly, this newly rendered world populated with almost unimaginable levels of spoils. You can enhance clothes, and accessorise your party in any number of ways. There must be tonnes of weapons to acquire, some of which are obviously harder to find than others. You could spend years in fact, before you had acquired the majority of these. This, combined with the quests and other play-features give the game a legendary feel.

This is all well and good on single player, but it really comes into its own when you team up with a live human counterpart. It simply comes to life when you play with friends. The multiplayer game manages to out-shine the single player experience, which itself is no slouch. It just adds so much more variety and play to the experience; something the single player struggles to reproduce at times due to its derivative nature. This is not to say there is not a great single player game here, just that when you have played the excellent multiplayer game, it’s hard to go back to solo adventuring.

If you missed Monster Hunter the first time around, then this could well be a good time to jump in. If you have played the previous game, there is still enough here to provide many many hours of enjoyment.

This is another great follow up from Capcom.

9 out of 10
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